Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Cardboard Box....Chapter of Diane Ogden

My life was always about taking care of other people which usually left me trying to mentally swim out of an empty deep well of my own making.  And there I was again sitting in my beautiful pink Cadillac waiting for a stranger to reappear who apparently stole one of my favorite belongings in boom box.  Even stranger is why he did not take my travelers checks.  I suppose he figured the American Express Company would track him and jail was not an option.   He also most likely considered he couldn't go to jail for stealing a boom box when the owner probably had no proof it was hers in the first place.  Yet there I was still wasting time waiting for Roger.   What if he had passed out in the rest room. I did not go in to check as my mind concluded there could have been a  murderer in there."  I always did have a wild imagination.  That is when a large red white and blue semi pulled into the rest stop.  Yes! The Calvary had arrived and I was beyond thrilled.  I would ask this man to check the "john" for Roger. 

As the rugged looking man stepped down from the cab of his truck I saw he had a very large dog with him.  I mean any man who drove a rig with his dog had to be a good person right?  I waited until he got his dog out the other side of the truck before I  got out of my car.  That is when I realized the dog was a huge Doberman.  And not a kind one in appearance at all.   I surmised at that moment that if I did find Roger I would personally kill him myself.  Roger, in a short few hours had reinstated in me the need for a man.  The security of one anyway. 

I shouted, "Hey Mister. Mister!"   Nothing.  Once again, louder, "Hey Mister, I need your help."

He turned and stared at me with eyes that resembled a huge black crow about to devour its kill.  Or maybe more like a snake eye with the vertical yellow pupils from the last horror show I watched..  It was so vivid I thought I had actually heard the rattle before the strike.  By then he was at my drivers door, and I was about to pee myself.  There I was in the middle of nowhere Illinois and so far I had met two gnarly men, one a hitchhiker I picked up who had disappeared clean out of sight with my boombox, and the other a gnarly trucker who had a very large attack dog standing inches from my person.   My hand was on my key chain where I carried a whistle in case I got into trouble.  A lot of good that would have done me out there alone in that secluded rest area.  Some rest area that turned out to be.  My thoughts had gone off the charts, again.  Earth to Julianna, come in please.  And so I returned to the scene at hand. 

"Sir, I am worried my friend may be sick or hurt in the rest room. He has been in there far too long.  I was afraid to go in there by myself, so would you mind checking on him for me?"

 That is when he just walked away.  He never said boo or yes or no. He just walked away.  Why didn't I put that Cadi in R and get the hell out of there?  But I didn't.  That was me.  Not only was I a caretaker of the world but I was a natural detective.  This was all too good to drive away from.  Anyway I had my whistle and absolutely no sense to boot.

I watched the man open the rest room door.  There I was again, waiting for another man.   Meanwhile I was deep in another one of my secret imaginary thought boxes when the scary eyed man came walking toward me with his scary eyed big dog.  That time the dang dog was growling at me. 

The man spoke.  "Lady there is no one in the rest room."  Where is your friend?  I responded with what must have sounded like the stupidest blonde joke ever.  "He wasn't my friend sir, I just gave him a ride the last few hours.  We stopped here to sleep awhile and when I woke up he was gone." 

The man spoke again.  "Lady it is not a good idea to pick up strangers.  Especially along this highway.  I travel this road every other week.  The town folk around here tell a tale about "The Ghost of the Outer Edge."  Seems he was murdered somewhere along this stretch of highway where he comes out usually at night, with a vengeance.  Angry sort he is.  Story goes his brother killed him over a jug of whiskey years back.  Best you be getting on out of here sister.  I would escort you but I have been on the road too long and am in need of some shuteye.  Good luck and don't stop for anyone until you reach Springfield.  We are just outside the city of Broadwell so I figure you got about a forty five minute drive ahead of you.  I mean it lady, don't stop for anyone.  I have personally experienced "The Ghost of the Outer Edge" myself. That is why I have Duke with me this trip.  He'll let me know if anyone is around, dead or alive.  Now you skedaddle on outta here.  You'll be safe in Springfield.  Shouldn't be travelin' alone anyway girl."

And so I did.  I secured my car, locked all my doors and headed south for Springfield.  Heck all I wanted to do was have a peaceful trip, see the pretty lights of the big cities, read Burma Shave signs and meet happy people. 

As I drove on I thought how I missed Roger more than I had missed Harper.  Brother was that messed up.  I better not have to deal with any extra terrestrials.   Being a spiritual person was one thing, but ghosts was another.  My radio was as loud as I could stand it so my brain would not think on anything but the songs lyrics.  You know how my brain would go into overdrive in every area.  I mean what was there to be afraid of right?  A ghost couldn't hurt me anyway.  I should have known better than to have even thought such.  Just then my car started sputtering and choking.  And so did I.  No way was this car going to break down in Ghost Alley.  But it was and it did.  I sat there alone in the dark dying a million times a second.  Panic set in faster than raging flood waters.  I had sandbagged my mind but the waters raged on and into my being and I couldn't breath.  As I sat gasping I felt my own life energies leave my body. I was freezing cold and then I rose warmly out of my body to a hovering state overhead.  I saw my beautiful pink Cadillac sitting in the middle of the road and me slumped over the wheel.  I must have died! I died! 
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